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April 8, 2010 Volume 31, No. 26

Life Sciences Week will highlight interdisciplinary research at Mizzou

At the forefront

Events showcase components of Mizzou Advantage initiative

The University of Missouri’s 26th annual celebration of life sciences will take place April 12 to17 at MU’s Bond Life Sciences Center. Focusing on life sciences education, research, outreach and economic development, the week will include a two-day forum showcasing more than 300 research projects by students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty representing a broad spectrum of life sciences disciplines.

The weeklong celebration is also an economic development networking event with science career exploration opportunities, seminars by internationally acclaimed scientists, displays featuring MU core research facilities and research centers, a large vendor show; an awards presentation recognizing excellence in student research; high school outreach and more. Missouri Life Sciences Week typically attracts more than 1,000 academic researchers, business leaders and policy makers.

“MU has been at the forefront of the movement toward interdisciplinary collaboration for more than two decades — far earlier than many other research institutions,” says Jack Schultz, director of the Bond Life Sciences Center. “Students and faculty from a vast array of interconnecting scientific disciplines work side by side all year, and this is a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase their efforts. The events of Missouri Life Sciences Week exemplify the components of the Mizzou Advantage.”

Mizzou Advantage is a strategic initiative based on MU’s interdisciplinary strengths in Food for the Future; New Media; One Health, One Medicine: The Convergence of Human and Animal Health; Sustainable Energy; and Understanding and Managing Disruptive and Transformational Technologies.”

 The events are free and open to the public. A detailed schedule of events is online at

 Some of the highlights include:

  • Featured lectures by Laurel Neme, natural resource management consultant and author, who will speak on “Wildlife CSI: Animal Investigators Solve Crimes and Save Endangered Species;” Michael Lynch, professor of biology at Indiana University and member of the National Academy of Sciences, an expert in the evolution of genomic complexities; Ian Baldwin, director of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Ecology in Germany, who will present the Charles W. Gehrke Lecture; and Janet Butel, professor and chair of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, presenting the Roma Eisenstark Memorial Lecture in Cancer Research.
  • Glen Nowak, director of media relations for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will present the Smith/Patterson Lecture, “Communicating About Science, Health and Medicine: Who Knew It Could Be So Difficult?,” at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, and also participate in a panel discussion focusing on communication between scientists and journalists. Free-lance science writer, Emma Marris, whose work is frequently published in the journals Science and Nature, will also be a panelist.
  • The research forum will feature more than 300 projects in five categories, summarized on posters. A research competition for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows is held in conjunction with the poster forum.
  • ACES (Alternative Career Exploration in the Sciences) will hold a career networking opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to meet informally with representatives from a variety of science-related companies and organizations outside of academia.
  • Exploring Life Sciences at MU is an event for mid-Missouri high school science students and teachers, exploring science careers and participating in the research poster forum.
  • A SPARC (Scientific Partnership and Resource Connection) networking event will provide an opportunity for business leaders and entrepreneurial scientists to meet, chat and discuss possible collaborations to promote commercialization of academic research discoveries and economic development.
  • The Saturday Morning Science presentation at the end of Life Sciences Week will feature William Seyfried, Jr., professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Minnesota, speaking on “Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents: New Technologies, New Discoveries.”